By Devin Holt
Reading Rainbow is back! Well, almost. The beloved educational TV series from the '80s, '90s, and aughts has launched a Kickstarter campaign with the goal of bringing “Reading Rainbow back for every child, everywhere.”
A video on the Kickstarter page features our old pal LeVar Burton (and a few hilarious fashions in the vintage TV shots), explaining how his latest project will be a modern update to the format of the old PBS show.
“Thirty minutes on TV was yesterday’s world,” he says. “In today’s world, today’s kids want today’s technology.”
Reading Rainbow has always embraced technology, even after the TV show was cancelled in 2006. Its iPad app is wildly popular and has been praised by everyone from Wired Magazine to Common Sense Media. Burton wants to take the strategy that made the app successful and extend it into classrooms and across the web. He wants to make a version of Reading Rainbow that is accessible on any web-enabled computer, and not just tablets. The program will be delivered free to schools in need, he says.
And if that’s not enough to open the wallet, they’re offering some of the coolest incentives on Kickstarter. For a $10 donation, there’s a special Thank You tweet from @ReadingRainbow, and $25 comes with a digital download of the collector’s edition of Reading Rainbow (more hilarious vintage fashion!). High rollers who get in before it’s too late can get autographed photos, Skype chats, and dinner dates with LeVar Burton.
The campaign’s goal is to raise $1,000,000 by July 2nd. Judging from the pace of their fundraising, that won’t be a problem. The number of backers increased by almost 2,000 in the time it took to write the first draft of this article. Anyone looking to book that private dinner better get online quick.
And speaking of awesome reading organizations, be sure to check out Mountain View’s Bring Me A Book. They’re a top ten finalist in the Google Bay Area Impact Challenge. If they receive enough votes by June 2nd, they could get a $500,000 grant from Google. Vote here. Or just Google it.
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